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Thursday, June 20th, 2024

Air Force releases request for proposals for missile system program

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The U.S. Air Force has issued a request for proposals for five production lot options to produce and deploy its Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system.

The effort stems from the branch’s Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase. The contractors for GBSD’s current Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction phase, Boeing and Northrop Grumman, will compete for the EMD contract and the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center expects to award the contract in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020.

“There is no margin to do another service life extension program on Minuteman III, because not only would it be more expensive than developing GBSD, but you would not have the resiliency in the capability because you would not have the modern equipment, you would not have the actual capabilities from a functional range point of view (or) warhead capability,” Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said. “So we need to, by 2028, start replacing (ICBMs).”

The new GBSD system has garnered the support of senior Air Force leadership.

“If you look at the threat that we face, Russia just completed their modernization of their triad this year…because they know they cannot defeat us—and certainly can’t defeat NATO—conventionally,” Gen. David L. Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff said at a congressional committee hearing in April. “So, our modernization and recap of the triad is just in time because in the missile leg, key parts of that program expire right about the time that we bring on the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent to replace it.”